Category Archives: Community Support

Community Support

Bed Bugs: Help! Monsters Are Hiding Under The Bed and In It!

Monsters are things of nightmares, and as children we often needed Mom or Danightmare-boy-in-bedd to check out the underside of the bed to make sure a monster wasn’t lurking there.  If all was well, per the “Monster Check”, sleep would come if eyes were shut and covers pulled up tight.  The theory was, if it couldn’t be seen, it wasn’t there.

But the blood sucking monsters known as Bed Bugs, Cimex lectularius defy inspection, hide under, arobed-bug-bashund and in our beds, and using the dark of night, stealthily creep out of hiding to attack singularly or in hordes. Leaving itchy red bites and psychological trauma (fear and loathing) in their wake.

Bed bugs are ancient monsters, sucking the blood of man, other warm blooded mammals and birds, in order to survive, and they ddt-for-bed-bugshave been feasting regularly since the dawn of human history. While bedbugs were largely eliminated by pesticides (DDT) after World War II, their populations have rebounded because of greater global travel, urban sprawl and pesticide resistance, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

While they are usually found hiding in and around bed frames and mattresses, bedbugs are extremely mobile and hide in furniture, curtains, carpet edges, lamps and switch plates, picture frames, luggage, purses, blankets, and clothing.

Amazingly, research has determined that bed bugs do not transmit any illnesses through their bites. But the bites alone can cause redness, swelling and painful allergic reactions.

vre
VRE Bacterium
VRE Infections

However, recently, in Vancouver, British Columbia, hospital researchers, found bed bugs harboring bacteria known as VRE, (vancomycin-resistant Enterococcus faecium) and MRSA, (methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus). It is currently under study, as to how bed bugs might play a part in the transmission of these two, drug resistant, germs

Scanning electron micrograph of methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus and a dead human neutrophil
methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus

which cause extremely lethal infections.  As of now, bed bugs are thought to have

mrsa-staff-infection
MRSA Infection

spread these germs passively, by merely transporting them on their body parts or proboscis and leaving them behind as they crawl over open wounds or skin lesions.”

“As closely as bed bugs reside in human domestic spaces, it’s not surprising that they would acquire human pathogens such as MRSA and VRE”, states Richard Oehler, a researcher at the University of South Florida.  How they can spread these pathogens between humans is the subject of ongoing scientific study.

Not so fun fbed-bug-rashact: According to scientists, an army of bed bugs can attack a person 500 times in one night.  I’m glad I wasn’t the researcher that was sacrificed, in the name of science, in order to obtain that statistic!

Got bed bugs?  Think you have bed bugs or do you want to be prepared just in case?  Check out these links for prevention and extermination techniques.

https://www.corkyspest.com/bed-bugs.html

https://www.epa.gov/bedbugs/getting-rid-bed-bugs

http://www.webmd.com/skin-problems-and-treatments/guide/bedbugs-infestation#1

If you find yourself losing the Bed Bug Battle, call a professional and start winning today!

Photo-Illustration by John Ueland for TIME Joel Stein: What’s so bad about bed bugs?

Sex and the Single Termite

Termites not only raid people’s homes, but also those of other happy termite couples.

Homosexuality is known as an “evolutionary paradox” because it can’t produce offspring. So why does it happen? Biologists at Kyoto University in Japan have now uncovered one explanation for the behavior — at least in termites.

Reticulitermes speratus
Reticulitermes speratus

When male termites are single, and no female mates can be found, the guys tend to

By Richard Levine Coptotermes formosanus
By Richard Levine Coptotermes formosanus

form homosexual couples, in order to survive.  A new study by Kyoto University scientists, in Japan, confirms this unusual behavior. Their study used subjects from Japanese termite species, that are genetically the same or similar to those found in the United States.(Reticulitermes speratus, Coptotermes formosanus).

These homosexual pairings may give male Japanese termites an evolutionary edge, according to new research. Scientists found that when female mates are lacking, male termites will pair up and nest together. These samtermite-king-queen-and-workere-sex pairs will even take over a heterosexual couple’s nest, killing the resident male (King) so that one member of the male-male pair can mate with the female (Queen), the researchers said.

Though pairing with another male is not the best option, as only one of the termites can mate once a female is found, the researchers noted that the behavior does give single termites a better chance at survival.

In the study, published in Animal Behavior, the researchers reported that homosexual male termites built nests together, just as with heterosexual couples. “Male termites aren’t able to survive on their own, but those that make nests with another male survived for much longer,” states Mizumoto. “This was especially beneficial in situations when searching for females raises the risk of being preyed upon.

“It’s clear that male-male pairing is a strategy for survival – a safety in numbers or “selfish herd” approach that works because a predator can’t catch two prey at the same time.

Scientists previously thought homosexual pairings of invertebrates like insects were the result of misrecognition of males as females. However, in the new study, researchers at Kyoto University found that the male termites in same-sex pairings did not act as if they had mistaken their partner as female.

Another interesting fact about termite sex, is some termites skip the sex altogether and have babies anyway.

Scientists recently discovered that termite queens could produce new queens without mating with the king. The queens still produce workers and soldiers the traditional way.sancheztermitebabyfoodtoon1080x1080 These new discoveries seem to indicate that the queen is able to control the genetic makeup of the colony. By producing new queens without mating, the queen reduces the chance of inbreeding.

 

 

Ants: Look out World! Super-Colonies Defy the Laws of Evolution.

First there was one; then there were two – and before long there were billions of them. Invasive ants have managed to form super-colonies that have the potential to grow indefinitely.

Ants normally form colonies with only one nest and one queen. But for 15-20 of the world’s 12,643 known ant species, this isn’t enough: they form super-colonies with multiple nests and many queens. This enables them to spread over large areas and wipe out other ant species.
According to Jes Søe Pedersen, of the Department of Biology, at the University of Copenhagen. “It looks as if the ants defy evolution, and we’re eager to figure out how that’s even possible,” “We have notrouble with understanding how evolution has created the classic ant colony,”says Pedersen.  “The workers work for their sisters – new queens – and their brothers – males. It gets a bit trickier to understand when the workers work for other ants’ sisters and ant-queen-eggs-and-workersbrothers, as is done in super-colonies. According to the laws of evolution, you only need to help out your relatives. But we’re seeing ant colonies so big that all the ants cannot possibly be related. So why are they helping one another? That’s what we’re trying to figure out,” he says.

Super-colony #1

Argentine Ants are now present on most continents.

The ant species that formed this massive super-colony originates from Argentina. It has spread to Europe, the USA, Australia, Japan, New Zealand and Hawaii from a super-colony that came from South America margentine-antore than 100 years ago, partly via ship cargo.

The largest Argentine Ant super-colony in the world was discovered in 2000 in Southern Europe. The size of this super-colony is amazing. Spread over 4000 miles near the Mediterranean and Atlantic coastlines, it actually consists of two super-colonies, with 33 populations consisting of millions of queens and billions of workers. They’re working together to create this gigantic society covering a larger distance than many of the world’s countries.

Although the Argentine Ant poses no risk to humans, it can soon become a nuargentine-ant-nestisance when suddenly there is an unprecedented increase in ants in the garden and infesting the house.

In Southern California, the Argentine ant is the No. 1 pest that extermination companies are hired to get rid of, UCSD researchers say.  They havargentine_ant_large-california-mape displaced more than 50 species of native ants, some ten times their size, to establish a “super-colony” that stretches from San Diego almost to the Oregon border.

What is also important, is to understand that the dominance of these ants can cause a ripple effect in the ecosystem as they eliminate other native ant species as well as other insects. This alters the food base for species further up in the food chain.

One big family

According to scientists, whenever ants from the main European and Californian super-colonies and those from the largest colony in Japan came into contact, they acted as if they were old friends.

These ants rubbed antennae with one another and never became aggressive or tried to avoid one another.

In short, they acted as if they all belonged to the same colony, despite living on different continents separated by vast oceans.

Super-colony #2

 Red Imported Fire Ants causing havoc in the U.S.
fire-ants-1The red imported fire ant is also native to South America and has been accidentally introduced in Australia, New Zealand, several Asian and Caribbean countries and the United States.

Red imported fire ants are dominant in their chosen areas of infestation and live in a wide variety of habitats. They can be found in: rain fireant-nestforests, in disturbed areas, deserts, grasslands, alongside roads and buildings, and in electrical equipment.

In the Ufire-ant-bitesS, the red American fire ant has had an iron grip on the country since the 1930s. This ant is also imported from Argentina, but unlike the Argentine Ant, it’s nasty sting is painful and sometimes hazardous to animals and humans alike. It’s sting is equivalent to that of a bee with the same dangers involved.

Since a super-colony can contain billions of these miniscule creatures within a relatively small area, great efforts are being made to fight them.fire-ant_map

According to researchers, “Trying to fight the red imported fire ant on a large scale is hopeless. It’s costing the US billions of dollars every year to fight this ant, to compensate for losses of crops and to provide medication for animals and for people who have been stung.

Other ants that have formed Super-Colonies:

Ethopia, Africa – The infamous ant speciesLepisiota canescens, is demonstratinlepisiota_canescens_sudan_2009_forkey-4-picsg the behavior needed for super-colony formation and global domination.

 

 

 

Australia, Christmas Island, Indonesia – The Yellow Crazy Ant, Anoplolepis gracilipes, is an extremely successful aAnoplolepis gracilipesnd resourceful species, and considered to be one of the worst invasive species on earth.  When disturbed they move around in a frantic motion, hence the name ‘crazy’ ants. They are aggressive and yellow-crazy-ants-feedingcompetitive to other ants and insects and this enables them
to out‐compete and displace other species and dominate food resources. These ants have spread through tropical and sub‐tropical zones of much of the world by ‘hitching’ rides with human produce and materials.

What will happen when all of these super-colonies meet

A titanic “War” for world domination!

ant-cartoon

Azteca, eciton, ants fighting, ant warfare, eciton hamatum, social insects, territory defense, animal territories, rainforest

ants-fighting

What Do You Give a Gopher for Christmas? The “Boot”!

Gopher It! Give Gophers the Boot!
Gopher It! Give Gophers the Boot!

That gopher that’s been living in your front yard for the last 2 years,  now considers himself part of the family. Just like creepy Cousincouch-potato Earle, that came to visit two Christmases ago and is now living in the basement, your gopher is entrenched and living rent free in your yard.   So, what do you give your gopher this Christmas?  The same thing that you give Cousin Earle.  The boot!

Pocket gophers live solitary lives in underground tunnel systems (sound like Cousipocket-gopher-close-upn Earle in the basement?), which they vigorously defend. They prefer loosely compacted or sandy soil for easy excavation. Their systems are typically made up of shallow feeding tunnels that run downward into deep nesting tunnel systems that can be several feet underneath the shallow systems. The average shallow tunnel depth is between 6-12 inches.

Gophers can heave up large amounts of soil in random mounding patterns, each forming a crescent shaped mound. (Mole mounds are conical in shape and form almost linear directions pocket-gopher-tunnelsin their digging patterns.) Gophers will forage above ground very near the tunnel opening for food and nesting material, just like creepy Cousin Earle, who makes his way up the stairs from the basement to raid the fridge. They have been known to create up to 70 mounds a month destroying gardens and lawns alike.

Gophers do not go dormant or hibernate, but they will take prolonged rest periods when temperatures or humidity reach uncomfortable extremes, and will go to deep nesting runway systems and live off stored food caches. Sounds like Cousin Earle again.

The most frustrating thing about gophers (and Cousin Earle), besides their year-round, daytime and nocturnal activity, is their ability to thwart your most creative and diligent eviction tactics.

Gopher resistant plants, natural predators, smelly repellent concoctions, Juicy Fruit gum, noise makers and vibrators, gas and smoke bogopers being blown upmbs, water boarding (tunnel flooding) and poisons, can all be part of an eviction program.  But the essential action you must take is consistent attention. No matter what method you decide upon, it is important to follow through, keep vigilant and act immediately when activity is observed.

When is it time to hire a professional exterminator? When your best efforts have failed, and all you want for gopher-and-snakes-cartoonChristmas is your beautiful yard and garden back!

Good Deals on Electronics Can Really “Bug” You!

Does your TV seem to be bugged?  How about that bug in your computer, not to mention, your video games.  Is it really an electronic miscockroach-and-tv-controlerfire, a phantom glitch or are they really, truly BUGGED?

Did you know that the cockroach is the “Computer Geek” of the insect world? Most cockroaches prefer to congregate and lay their eggs in places that are dark, secluded, warm and close to sources of food and water.  Unfortunately, the interiors of many electronic appliances, including TVs, radios, clocks, cable boxes, video game consoles and computers, fit that description, and cockroach infestations of these kinds of appliances and devices are common.

Infested electronics are a common avenue by which roaches travel from one homroach-infested-computere to another. or a warehouse to your home. Cockroaches maybe introduced into a home through used electronics or kitchen appliances that have come from an infested area and you may transport roaches to a new location, when you move, by carrying infested items with you. Even new electronics and appliances can be infested if they come from stores or warehouses with insect problems.  Even infested delivery vehicles have been known to deliver more than just that new TV or game console.

Roach Infestated Refridgerator
Roach Infestated Refridgerator

New electronics are expensive and getting a “good deal” on “gently used” or “like new” electronics or appliances may bring you more than the ultimate satisfaction.  They may bring you the beginning of the worst infestation of roaches your world has ever seen.  Your dreams may be shattered by malfunctions and glitches, and at worst, the death of that long sought after dream machine.

So, what can you do to keep your electronics, appliances and your living spaces, roach free? Here’s what the experts recommend:

Inspect and detect. Anything you bring into your living area should be thoroughly inspected for hidden invaders.  This includes new, store boxed and packaged, devices and products.  If not in the inspector-and-computer device itself, roaches can hide out in the packaging. They can hitch rides from warehouses, stores and delivery trucks.  Be especially vigilant when bringing home that “good deal” from garage sales and online sales sites.

Keep it clean. Maintain good sanitation practices.  Don’t leave food (last week’computer-with-foods pizza or yesterday’s fries and potato chips) sitting around your computer work areas or your game consoles.  Wipe up spilt drinks and don’t let unfinished beverages accumulate around your electronics.            Don’t feed the Bugs!

Blow’m out and Suck’m up! Vacuuming cockroaches and egg cases is a simple non-toxic control method.  Be sure to frequentlvacuumy use your cancleanpc of Air, to remove dust and other creepy crawlies from inside computers and  appliances.

 Trap’Em. Under certain conditions, sticky traps can be used to control cockroaches. Not a good idea to put them inside any device, but placing them where roaches can walk across them (and get stuck) is desirable.

cockroach-sticky-trapsHeat’m or Freeze’m. They do not develop or reproduce when temperatures are too cold (below 45° F) or too hot

hot-or-coldabove 115° F). If a small item can be wrapped in plastic and subjected to freezing, it can be placed in a freezer for several hours (or overnight) to kill thfreezing-bugse cockroaches. If you are dealing with small appliances or electronics be sure to read their users’ manual to make sure these methods are safe. Heating is probably the most risky solution, since most appliances and electronics react adversely to high temperatures.

Make’m, Bite the Dust! There are substances, called desiccants, that literally dry out any item or animal that contacts them directly. Roaches have a waxy, protective coating on the outside of their bodies which prevendead-roach-with-duststs moisture loss. Desiccants kill cockroaches by destroying this waxy layer and effectively turning these roaches into “Roach Mummys”.  The three most effective desiccants for cockroach control are diatomaceous earth, silica aerogel and boric acid.  Never dust the inside of your electronic equipment. Dusts can be spread behind, alongside or under suspect or infested devices.

Grab the Spray Can. Pesticide sprays can be effective when an infestation is minimal, but with roaches, the situation can fast becomspraying-cockroache a nightmare.  Never spray any liquid product into your electronic devices or appliances.  It’s a surefire way to ruin what you are trying to protect and you may even start a fire.  The same advice goes for spraying anything into an electrical outlet.

When allcorkys-roach-cartoon else fails, call a professional!

 

 

 

If you like our cartoon. We have more buggy funnies to keep you smiling.  Here’s the link: https://www.corkyspest.com/toons.html

 

 

In California, there is no such thing as a “Termite Season”.

They’re everywhere! Termites are active across the state of California, from Redding to San Francisco, down to Fresno, Bakersfield, Los Angeles, Riverside, and San Diego.Swarming Termites in Eaves

Both subterranean and drywood termites are well-known for damaging homes in California. And combined with all the lesser known species, they are responsible for millions of dollars in damage each year. Dampwood termites are also common in California. But, this species is less likely to damage structures than subterranean and drywood termites.termite-swarmers

Formosan termites, a type of subterranean termite, which formosan-termite-aleateare rare in Southern California, were first identified in La Mesa (San Diego County), California, in 1992 and their numbers have been increasing ever since.

 

In general, termites swarm on a warm day following a rainy spell.  Swarms also have a tendency to occur during the winter in heated buildings. The following is a  list of swarming habits of California’s most common termite species.

  • The western subterranean termite  is a daytime swarmer. It will swarm on a warn day after a rainy spell,  in autumn, winter or early spring.
  • The arid-land subterranean termite usually swarms during daylight hours in the fall, late winter and early spring.
  • The desert subterranean termite swarms during the summer, from July to September. This termite swarms at dusk, after a rain.
  • The formosan termite, in San Diego County,  typically swarms  from May to September. They always occur in the early evening and on days during which the daytime temperature exceeds 88°F (31.1°C). Thereafter, smaller swarms may take place periodically as suitable conditons occur.
  • The western drywood termte, swarms during the summer rainy season, from July to September. This termite swarms at dusk, after a rain.
  • The desert drywood termite swarms at night from June to September.
  • The Pacific dampwood termite most often swarms from August to October, just before sunset.
  • The Nevada dampwood termite swarms in the spring at higher elevations, and in summer and early fall in coastal areas. Swarms often take place before sunset.

In states like Califtermite-protectionornia where termites are extremely active and widespread, it’s essential to maintain an effective termite prevention and control program. If you own a home in California, talk to your termite control expert about methods to help protect your home from termite infestations and damage.

Don’t be fooled, the “termite season” is a myth.  Once termites get into your home, they are active, 24/7, all year long, feeding on and damaging wood members with one objective in mind, increasing the size of their colony.

Interesting termite facts:

  • Termites damage approximately 600,000 homes in the U.S. each year.
  • U.S. residents spend an estimated $5 billion annually to control termites and repairtermite-damaged-home termite damage.
  • Homeowners will spend,on average, $3,000 to repair the damage termites wreck upon their homes.
  • States with the heaviest termite activity include: Hawaii, Lotermite-risk-mapuisiana, Mississippi, Alabama, Florida, Georgia, South Carolina, the eastern part  of Texas and most of California. Homes in these areas have the greatest risk for termite damage.
  • Damage caused by termites in the U.S. is greater than that of fires, storms, and floods combined.
  • Your Homeowner’s Insurance does NOT cover termite damage.
  • While a very rtermites-eating-wood-and-swarmerseal threat to wooden structures, termites are also beneficial. Their ability to digest cellulose helps them recycle the nutrient base of the planet.

General information: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Termite

http://insects.about.com/od/termites/a/10-Cool-Facts-About-Termites.htm

 

A warm beverage, A romantic fire and BUGS !

Even sun worshiping, Southern Californians like the aroma,  romantic ambiance and the warmth that a fire in a fireplace brings to their homes during cool, damp, fall and winter evenings.  Although some enjoy the atmosphere of an electric fireplace, nothing beats  a real wood fire.

Be aware! Anytime you bring materials from the great outdoors into your home, you may be importing hitchhikers. Firewood, pine cones, seedpods and other natural items often host insects and arthropods. The majority, of these pests don’t pose a real threat to your home, furnishings or family, but it’s nice to avoid the unexpected fright and frustration tha their presence can elicit.

Firewood inswood-pileects usually belong to one of two groups:

  • those that actively feed on wood and
  • those only seeking shelter.

Here are some creatures that you might run into and some tips for keeping them  out of your home.

Beetles are the most common group of insects found within firewood. Wood borers often attack dead or dying trees and are in the woodeucalyptus_longhorned_borer_01 when it is cut. Often, the first indication of beetle activity is the presences of a powdery dust or frass coming from holes on the wood surface. Adult beetles may also be seen on or around the firewood.  Longhorned beetles (Cerambycidae), Flathead and metallic wood borers (Buprestidae), Bark and ambrosia beetles (Curculionidae), Powderpost beetles (Bostrichidae) are a few you might run into.

Termites: Termites accidently brought indoors with firewood will not infest structural wood.

Termites

Their presence in firewood, piled close to the home, may warrent an inspection for termites.

Ants: Some species of ants- including carpenter ants can be found in wood. There is little chance they will nest in the home, but if wood is brought indoors and warmed up,

carpenter_ant_nest_creemorethe ants can become active and create a nuisance anytime of the year.

 

Wood Wasps: Species of wood wasps, horntails and other wasp-like insects breed in dead wood.As with most of the insects mentioned here, they cannot re-infest wood or cause damage to a structure.

wood-wasp.

Spiders, earwigs, wood roaches, sowbugs, crickets and small flies may hide and/or overwinter in firewood. Oh, and don’t forget rats and snakes find woodpiles quite homey too.

Earwig and Black Widow
Earwig and Black Widow
Wood roaches and sowbugs
Wood roaches and sowbugs

 

crickets
House Crickets

Insect invasions of homes from firewood can be reduced by following these simple rules:

  • Avoid stacking the wood directly on the ground. This will keep the wood from getting too wet and reduce the chances for infestation by termites and ants.
  • Don’t stack firewood in or against the house or other buildings for long periods of time. Termite or carpenter ant problems can develop and cause more serious problems.
  • Use the oldest wood first, for it is most likely to be infested. Avoid the tendency to stack new wood on top of old wood.
  • Cover the wood during the summer and fall. This will keep it drier and exclude some creatures seeking overwintering sites.
  • Shake, jar, or knock logs together sharply to dislodge insects and brush off any obvious structures such as webbing or cocoons before bringing it inside.
  • Bring in small amounts of firewood that can be used up in a day or so and keep it stacked in a cool area (e.g., garage or porch) until it is burned. When wood warms up, the creatures in or on it will become active.
  • Do not treat firewood with insecticides. It is unnecessary and potentially dangerous due to chemical toxins released while burning.  Pesticide treated firewood is a “Health Hazard”!

Always obtain your firewood locally. Firewood from other areas could harbor, non-native, invasive pests, and has the potential to create a destructive infestation where you live or camp. Most experts recommend that no firewood be moved more than 50 miles from its origin. If you are planning a camping trip, away from home, don’t bring your own firewood with you. Buy wood from a source near the camping area. buy-it-where-you-burn-it-banner

 

 

There’s a “Dirty Rat” in Man’s Family Tree

Say hello to one of your oldest relatives, named Protungulatum donnae.

After a six-yeearliest_placental_mammalar study of the mammal family tree, scientists now believe that many mammalian species (people included) originated with a tiny rat-like creature that crawled the Earth tens of millions of years ago.

Fossils of the Protungulatum donnae look like the best ancestor mammal-ancestor-skeletoncandidate for the mammal family tree extending back 66 million years, and preserved evidence revealed that the creature weighed around eight ounces, had a long fuzzy tail and ate bugs. Maureen A.  O’Leary, anatomist at Stony Brook University, says, “The findings were not a total surprise. But it’s an important discovery because it relies on lots of findings from fossils and molecular data.” [The New York Times]

Researchers reported, the animal had several anatomical charactprehistoric-rateristics for live births that occur in all placental mammals (creatures that
nourish their young in utero through a placenta) and led to some 5,400 living species, from shrews to elephants, bats to whales, cats to dogs and, not least, humans.

So now it all makes sense, why scientists rely on mice and rats, when researching cures for human ailments or studying human behavior.

Rat yellingTheir genetic, biological and behavioral characteristics closely resemble those of humans, and many symptoms of human conditions can be replicated in mice and rats. “Rats and mice are mammals that share many processes with humans and are mouse-yellingappropriate for use to answer many research questions,” said Jenny Haliski, a representative for the National Institutes of Health (NIH) Office of Laboratory Animal Welfare.

Some examples of human disorders and diseases for which mice and rats are used as models include:

Hypertension, Diabetes, Cataracts, Obesity, Seizures, Respiratory problems, Deafness, Parkinson’s disease, Alzheimer’s disease, Cancer, Cystic fibrosis, HIV and AIDs, Heart disease, Muscular dystrophy, Spinal cord injuries

Now you know why great-uncle Joe looks the way he does, why aunt Mary is man-looks-like-ratso mousey and why cousin Billy Bob eats so much cheese.eating-cheese

Termites: From Home Wreckers to “Gold Diggers”

Nationwide, termites cause more than $2.5 billion worth of damage to homes each year. Crawling up into sill plates or foundation posts from damp soil, flying into attics or crawl spaces, these relentless insects tunnel into and eat wood, leaving nothing but paper-thin layers where strong supports used to be.  They silently wreck havoc on homes and other structures.

termites-eating-wood

termite-damaged-home

 

 

 

Now scientists have found that besides being home wreckers,  termites are also,

gold-in-handtermites-in-underground-nestnatures “gold diggers”. 

 

 

Most gold today is produced in large open-pit and deep underground mines. However, small-scale gold mining is still common, especially in third-world countries.

A recent study by Australian scientists found that termites excrete trace deposits of gold. According to The Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organization (CSIRO) a federal government agency for scdigging-termitesientific research in Australia, the termites burrow beneath eroded subterranean material, which typically thowarts  human attempts to find gold, and ingest and bring the new deposits to the surface. They believe that studying termite nests may lead to less invasive methods of finding gold deposits.

In addition to gold particles being present in the mounds, gold can also be detected in the termites themselves if there is a high concentration of the valuable metal in the vicinity.  Apparently metals like gold catermite-body-with-metals-insiden build up in the digestive systems of insects, and show up as tiny kidney stone-like lumps. Researchers also believe that termite waste is a “driving force” for how metals get redistributed throughout an ecosystem.

Scientists have often relied on insects to guide exploration.

harvester-ant-colony
Harvester Ant Nest

For instance, paleontologists often comb through ant mounds to look for any miniature fossil bones and teeth the insects might have carried back to their nests.

 

Termites are not specifically selecting gold to bring into their nests. It is a fortunate consequence of their nest building technique and their technique effectively helps exploration companies find mineral rich deposits without expensive drilling.

Australia isn’t the first place that termite mounds have been used   to prospect for gold deposits.  In fact, civilizations in Africa have been using termite and ant mounds to prospect for gold deposits for hundreds of years and gold isn’t the only mineral discovered either. Copper, nickel and even diamond mines have been discovered by checking out termite mounds.

African Termite Mound
African Termites

 

tertmite-mounds-in-australia
Australian Termites

gold-feverSo,  if you’re catching “Gold Fever”, grab your pick and shovel and a metal detector and head out to discover where termites (or ants) may be nesting near you. There may be gold in them there mounds!

subterranean-termite-tubes in a sub-area
Subterranean-termite-tubes under a  raised foundation
U.S. Desert Subterranean Termite Colony
U.S. Desert Subterranean Termite  Tubes

 

Tales from Natures’ “Dark Side”

 

Gather round the old campfire or maybe just the family fire pit.  It’s  Halloween and time for tall tales, urban legends and “True Stories”.  Mother Nature provides the best material for horror stories and here are a few tales to get you ready for

                                  “The Scariest Time of The Year”!Halloween Clock

Stop! Don’t Lick that Envelope!

This lady was working in a post office in California, one day she licked the envelopes and postage stamps instead of using a sponge.

That very day the lady cut her tongue on the envelope. A week later, she nlicking-lots-of-envelopesoticed an abnormal swelling of her tongue. She went tothe doctor, and they found nothing wrong. Her tongue was not sore or anything. A couple of days later, her tongue started to swell more, and it began to get really sore, so sore, that she could not eat. She went back to the hospital, and demanded something be done. The doctor, took an x-ray of her tongue, and noticed a lump. He prepared her for minor surgery.

When the doctor cut her tongue open, a live roach crawled out. There were roach eggs on the seal of the envelope. The eggs were able cockroachs-in-mouth-scary-picto hatch inside of her tongue because her saliva kept it warm and moist, just perfect for growing roach babies…

This is a true story … Yuck!  Anyone remember the Alien movie?

http://www.snopes.com/horrors/insects/cockroacheggs.asp

The Dangers of Sunbathing

A young woman was sunbathing on the beach and was just about to drop off tosunbathing sleep, when she felt an insect running along her jawbone and then down her neck. She brushed it away, and thought nothing more of it.

After about a week, she noticed what she thought was a pimple growing and growing. The skin was inflamed and it looked like a blister. Then, one day, she was blow-drying her hair and hit the inflamed spot with her hair dryer. The blistered skin broke open and hundreds of tiny white baby spiders and pus came pouring out of the wound!

It seems that while sspiders-coming-out-of-girls-facehe was sunbathing, her pores had enlarged enough that a mama spider could deposit her egg sac in one. They incubated under her skin until she smacked herself in the jaw with the hair dryer!

Entomologists at the University of Illinois explained to National Geographic that spiders aren’t built to inject their eggs under the skin. They may be able to plaster them on top of the skin, but that wouldn’t make much sense.

http://www.thescarystory.com/averyshorthorrorstory/

http://www.scaryforkids.com/the-red-spot/

The Monster In The Elevator

A man was found slumped in an elevator, very much dead with two holes in his neck. The coroner discovers the man died in a state of shock, and he’d lost a lot of blood. However, to everyone’s surprise, there’s no bloelevator-with-dead-insideodstains, no fingerprints, and no signs of forced entry. Things take another bizarre turn when, one month later, a teenage girl is found dead in the same elevator with two identical puncture wounds in her throat, minus a liter or two of blood. People are starting to think there’s a vampire on the loose. What other explanation makes sense?

The police are getting desperate sothey stake out the apartment, posting a detective and a sergeant inside the elevator. The men ride the lift up and down for hours and hours, which turn into days. On the third day, the elevator suddenly shakes and comes to a halt. The power dies, plunging the men into darkness, which isn’t good news since the sergeant suffers frwolf-spider-eyes-and-fangsom a mild case of claustrophobia. The two pull out their flashlights, and it’s then they hear the click, click, click on the elevator roof. As their heart rates jump, they realize something big—something alive—is up there, crawling around, and it’s then that they see the hole in the ceiling where a panel has fallen away. The detective shines his light toward the hole and has to fight back sheer terror as he sees a large, hairy head the size of a soft ball, covered with eight shiny eyes, all staring right at him.

The sergeant isn’t quite as calm. Not only does he have claustrophobia, he’s also deathly afraid of spiders. He panics and drops his flashlight, and suddenly the three-foot-long beast springs into the elevator and lands on the sergeant’s face, mutant-spider-dogwhere it proceeds to sink its jaws into his cheek and suck out blood. The detective is paralyzed for a moment, but then he draws his gun and fires, shooting off one of the spider’s hairy legs. Wounded, the creature rushes past the detective and escapes out the hatch, leaving one more corpse and a traumatized detective. Is the story true? Probably not. But it’s something to think about if you’re ever stuck in an elevator. And heaven forbid that the lights go out!

Along came a spider and more scary stuff:  http://www.slemen.com/spider.html

http://listverse.com/2013/11/24/10-scary-spider-stories/

Mistaken Identity

A family had just purchased a small puppy. They had only had it for a week or so and decided to take it to the beach with them. When they arrived, they found out that they could not take the puppy onto the public beach because of a city ordinance. Instead of traveling back home to learat-on-a-leashve the puppy or leaving it in a hot car, they left it on its leash… tied to the car.

After a few hours, they came back to the car to discover that someone had stolen their puppy. The leash and collar were still there, tied to the car. They searched all around the parking lot for the puppy. No luck. They did, however, find another scruffy looking dog wandering the lot with no collar. Instead of leaving with no pet, they decided to give the mutt a home.

They brought it home and kept it in the house with them for a week. They then decided to take the dog to the vet to get his shots, etc.

Upon examininmexican-dog-ratg the dog, the vet made three discoveries:

  1. Their new pet was not a dog, but a large dock rat.
  2. Their puppy was not missing, but had been eaten by the rat.
  3. The rat has rabies!

 

http://urbanlegends.about.com/od/dogs/a/mexican_pet.htm

http://www.scaryforkids.com/new-pet/

                                        Halloween Pumpkin Happy Halloween                     Telling tall tales and scary stories is an art form.  You have to do it right in order to create the desired effect.  Check out these links to perfect your tale telling skills:

  https://roadtrippers.com/stories/perfect-campfire-horror-story?lat=40.80972&lng=-96.67528&z=5

http://westsidetoastmasters.com/article_reference/campfire_stories.html